To Those Feeling Despair or Hopelessness

by Bob Spiegel      (Fla Bob)

I just walked into the house after walking around my yard in the early morning silence of my country home. My 100-foot split rail fence covered with honeysuckle in full bloom filled the still air with a gorgeous aroma and I inhaled their beauty as I listened to cocks crowing, doves and an occasional crane sounding their greeting. There was a slight fog in my huge oaks trees and it enhanced their beauty as I marveled at the unusually prolific blooms on my ginger bushes planted underneath. I smelled everything, listened to everything (yes, even with one ear) and was astounded at the sights that nature provides. It was a glorious 30 minutes.

I relate this tale because a little over a year ago, in despair over knowledge that my cancer had spread to my liver, and the misdiagnosis by the VA that I had another disease which later proved incorrect, I will admit to thoughts at that time of taking my life. I had had two great careers, my kids were grown, I lived alone and was 72. I would likely never play music again and, living in redneck country, there was little chance of meeting an intelligent woman who could fit into my life. Both my dogs had died and my only brother was in failing health and bitter at the world over it. The tunnel had no end-light.

But, thanks to GSI, I learned to not give up, to take charge of my medical care, and not take an incompetent doctor’s word as gospel. I changed caregiver, switched hospitals, had liver surgery, and a March scan enabled me to dance with ‘Nora’. A neighbor’s Jack Russell ‘adopted’ me, my surgery recovery was remarkably fast and painless, and I have adopted a totally new attitude toward life and my fellow man. God has bestowed upon me a mission and has placed one opportunity after another in my lap to implement it. Sometimes they are GIST-related, most times not. I retain my sense of humor even in bad times and feel useful, appreciated and helpful.

To those newly diagnosed, fearing regression, apprehensive about an upcoming scan, or struggling with side effects, KEEP FIGHTING!!! And use GSI as your sounding board for reinforcement, advice, and to feel the love of fellow travelers in this involuntary journey. Today, though I’m on Gleevec for life, I feel good, have energy, laugh a lot, feel creative and have a dozen projects on my ‘to do’ list. If I had not ‘discovered’ The Life Raft Group and GSI, I would know less, have likely fallen victim to medical misjudgments, and most likely not been around to smell those honeysuckles in this morning’s misty and still air.

I now live 28 hours a day, learn something each hour, use it and share it and am actually getting a start on the comprehension of today’s technology. All because I learned how to take charge of my medical care and start making my own decisions based on knowledge. No small part in this played by GSI!

So hang in there and re-read this story from time to time to know that brighter days can indeed still lie ahead. Life CAN be good again!

Fla Bob

May 2008